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Task 14 Success Strory

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Task 14 (Market deployment of electric vehicles: Lessons learned) has applied the results of its study of previous electric vehicle rollout efforts to help develop the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative as well as the their new strategic plan for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) over the coming decade in California, United States (U.S.).

From 2007 until early 2010, the Task 14 working group conducted an international effort comprising a series of one-day workshops with over 100 experts in Asia, Europe, and North America in countries that had implemented PEV rollouts during the 1990s and early 2000s. IA-HEV member countries Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. participated in Annex XIV. Representatives from Japan, France, and Germany also attended the workshops to share past experiences with PEV rollouts.

Dr.Tom Turrentine, director of the Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle (PH&EV) Research Center at the University of California Davis, served as the Operating Agent coordinating the IA-HEV effort. Because of his expertise, he was then selected to help develop the California PEV Collaborative, a group of multiple stakeholders working for the successful market introduction and acceptance of these vehicles. He also led the writing team for the collaborative’s strategic plan Taking Charge: Establishing California Leadership in the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Marketplace,which was released in December 2010. This plan is intended to help guide California towards success in its goal of one million PEVs on the road by 2020.

Dr. Turrentine shared the discovery by Task 14 that one of the important lessons from California’s attempt to introduce zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the 1990s was that the state had lacked a market-implementation plan. Instead, the state had tried to rely entirely on regulatory action to push the market for ZEVs, which are comparable to today’s battery electric vehicles, or BEVs. Due to this purely regulatory approach, there was a lack of cooperation from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and poor cooperation between major sectors relevant to these vehicles. As a result, there was no collaborative organization or plan to develop the market, preventing ZEVs from achieving any traction in the marketplace.

Today, California’s PEV Collaborative includes automotive OEMs, major utilities, state agencies, legislators, the Governor’s office, environmental groups, and infrastructure providers.

Topping the list of over 30 recommendations in the Taking Charge strategic plan is simplifying the process of getting home-charging stations installed quickly, developing solutions to enable charging at apartments and condominiums, and structuring electricity prices to encourage off-peak charging.

Increasing consumer demand through education campaigns, developing new service industries to make charging cars easier than refueling at gas stations, encouraging tech-based solutions to help drivers find existing public charging stations, and ensuring that local governments establish strategic placement of a public charging network rounded out PEVs' most pressing issues.

The IA-HEV “Lessons Learned” Task participants contributed a great deal towards providing key information for the PEV rollout in California. Today, major automakers have begun commercial production of PEVS for the first time, and many are targeting California’s cities as an early market. California is showing cultural leadership and taking immediate steps followed by concrete next steps for a successful PEV market introduction. Dr. Turrentine and the Annex will issue a “Lessons Learned” final report during 2011 that will be publicly available.